Lahore: While addressing the Lahore Tax Bar Association Chairman Pakistan tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan said that the amnesty scheme approved by the Cabinet on 12 November 2012 is not only a slap on the face of honest taxpayers but also aimed at decriminalizing the crime of tax evasion and plundering of national wealth.
It is rightly termed as ‘financial NRO’ as the corrupt government has decided to exempt the beneficiaries [criminals] from questioning by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) stated Imran Khan today in his address at the Lahore Tax Bar Association. He stated that the National Assembly cannot pass it as Money Bill [titled Finance (Amendment) Bill 2012] because it intends to amend many laws that are not fiscal in nature. If it is approved by the National Assembly, it will be a blatant violation of Constitution of Pakistan as held by the Supreme Court (in Mir Muhammad Idris v Federation of Pakistan PLD 2011 SC 213 and Sindh High Court Bar v Federation of Pakistan PLD 2009 SC 789)
According to Imran Khan the proposed scheme is a money whitening device. It is discriminatory vis-à-vis the honest taxpayers, inter alia, for the following reasons:
It favours tax evaders and puts the honest taxpayers at a sadvantage.
Such schemes, announced at random, are against Article 25 of the Constitution as these violate the guarantee against arbitrary decisions under the whims and fancies of the rulers in power.
It favours unscrupulous taxpayers, leading to unjustified and hostile discrimination resulting in a violation of equality clause of the Constitution.This scheme, amounting to approving the crimes of tax evasion, rent-seeking and money laundering will have pernicious effect on the general moral fabric of society. All such moves put integrity at a discount and place a premium on vulgar and ostentatious display of wealth. This shatters the faith of the common man in the dignity of honest labour and virtuous living.
PTI is of the considered view that ill-gotten wealth is like a cancerous growth in the country’s economy, which if not uprooted in time, is certain to culminate in its death.
Imran Khan said that the rate at which this amnesty is being offered and this is not the first time is ridiculous when compared to the tax rate. It is true that with the free conversion of currency and no questions asked there is an amnesty which is already in place and all those who have evaded taxes know of this process. This also has to change in the opinion of PTI.
PTI believes firmly that people will only pay taxes as long as they are sure that there taxes are used for the benefit of the masses not wasted and that they will not be able to escape punishment .
Closing his speech Khan said that on coming to power, PTI will pass legislation to punish the evaders after clearly displaying austerity in the life style of the rulers and prudent use of tax pay and after offering an opportunity to come into the net. The money realized from seizure of untaxed assets will solve the problem of resource mobilization and will also help to plug the huge tax gap. Such deterrence alone can promote tax compliance in the country.